Nutrition Information

The Food Pyramid is an excellent aid to help you choose from a variety of foods which supply the recommended amounts of daily nutrients you need including vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat.

It has been designed to show you at a glance, which types of foods make up a well balanced, healthy diet, starting with the foods you need most of at the bottom, and those to use sparingly at the top.

Food Pyramid

Servings per day for each food group

The food pyramid diagram: text description

A pyramid shaped diagram split into four horizontal tiers. At the base, the largest part, are pictures of foods from the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group, representing 6–11 servings per day.

Moving on up to level two, you find foods from the fruit and vegetable groups, with suggested servings of 2–4 fruit and 3–5 vegetables per day.

Imagine the pyramid tapering as you progress up to the third level, showing that you require less of these foods. It includes the dairy group, at 2–3 daily servings, and the meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans group, at 2–3 daily servings.

The very tip of the pyramid contains some coloured dots. These are fats, oils and sugar. As you can guess from the size of this region, these are only required in small quantities. The other food groups naturally contain these and provide most of your daily needs. This is indicated by the presence of these dots scattered throughout the other pyramid levels too.

End diagram description.

Bread, cereal, grain and pasta

At the bottom of the food pyramid are foods which provide complex carbohydrates which are an important source of energy. Try to eat wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals as these are less processed and therefore retain more minerals and fibre.
Daily Servings:  6–11

A serving can consist of:

  • Bread (medium sliced): 1 slice
  • Breakfast cereal: 25g
  • Cereal (cooked): 100g
  • Pasta: 100g
  • Rice: 100g

Fruit and Vegetables

These form the next tier up in the pyramid and are foods which provide vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. Try to choose a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables as the different colours often indicates the presence of different nutrients.

Vegetables

Daily Servings:  3–5

A serving can consist of:

  • Broccoli: 2 spears
  • Brussels sprouts: 8
  • Cabbage: 3 heaped tablespoons
  • Carrots: 3 heaped tablespoons
  • Cauliflower: 8 florets
  • Lettuce (mixed leaves): 1 cereal bowl
  • Mixed vegetables (frozen): 3 tablespoons
  • Onion: 1 medium
  • Parsnips: 1 large
  • Peas: 3 heaped tablespoons
  • Potatoes: ½ baked or 2 small boiled
  • Spinach: 2 heaped tablespoons
  • Swede: 3 heaped tablespoons
  • Sweetcorn (canned): 3 heaped tablespoons
  • Tomatoes (fresh): 1 medium, or 7 cherry

Fruit

Daily Servings:  2–4

A serving can consist of:

  • Apple, banana, peach or pear: 1 medium
  • Apricots: 3
  • Blackberries: 1 handful
  • Blueberries: 4 heaped tablespoons
  • Cherries: 14
  • Fruit juice: 1 medium glass (150ml)
  • Grapefruit: half
  • Grapes: 1 handful
  • Orange: 1
  • Pineapple: 2 rings or 12 chunks (canned), or 1 large fresh slice
  • Plums: 2 medium
  • Raisins: 1 tablespoon
  • Raspberries: 2 handfuls
  • Satsumas: 2 small
  • Strawberries (fresh): 7

Meat, poultry, fish, nuts and dairy products

These form the third tier up in the pyramid and are foods which provide protein, iron and zinc and in the case of dairy products, calcium, all of which are essential for the maintenance and growth of healthy bone and muscle.

Meat, eggs, nuts and beans

Daily Servings:  2–3

A serving can consist of:

  • Baked beans: 5 tablespoons (½ tin)
  • Beans (dried): 25g (cooked weight)
  • Eggs: 1
  • Lentils: 25g (cooked weight)
  • Meat, fish or poultry (lean): 50–75g (cooked weight)
  • Nuts and seeds: 1 handful

Dairy products

Daily Servings:  2–3

A serving can consist of:

  • Cheese: 30g
  • Milk: 1 glass (200ml)
  • Yogurt: 1 small pot (150ml)

Fats, Oils and Sugars

These form the tip of the pyramid which, as the smallest part, serves to show that little is required in your daily diet. They provide calories but not much in the way of nutrition. Although the body does require a certain amount of fat, most of us get a fair proportion from foods such as meat, poultry and dairy products and in ready made foods so extra fats and oils eaten sparingly will suffice.

Foods from this group can include:

  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Desserts
  • Margarine
  • Oils
  • Salad dressings
  • Soft drinks
  • Sugars
  • Sweets

For further advice you might like to consider consulting a dietician. There is also more information on the following sites: